REBELS: Vitamin magnate Marcus Blackmore competing on Hooligan at Hamilton Island Race Week. Photo: Salty DingoThe new n TP52 circuit will start this weekend, giving owners in the super-competitive class their own stalking ground.
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The inaugural TP52 class regatta will coincide with Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship, to be held over the weekend of November 24-25. The circuit will also visit Sydney, Pittwater and Newcastle.

The TP52 owners group has appointed Terry Wetton to manage the class locally, including the new series of three regattas and a transparent rating system to deliver competitive racing for boats of varying ages.

“TP52s are a premier grand prix racing class worldwide, with 13 boats currently being actively campaigned in . The new series brings the best of the best together for some highly competitive racing on both short windward-leeward courses and coastal passages,” Wettonsaid.

Each boat will be able to carry one pro sailor, any additional pros will attract a small penalty under an Event Handicap (EHC).

“It means we’re levelling the field in a class driven by owners,”Marcus Blackmore, owner and skipper of the TP52 Hooligan, said. “The boats must be owner driven. We’ll try the new handicap system and see how it goes. I hope we’ll see eight TP52s on the harbour – it will look fantastic. I’m pretty excited about it. The starts should be fantastic. It doesn’t make any difference to how old your boat is – we’re all generally going at the same speed.”

Hooligan, brought to by Blackmore last year after being anointed TP52 Super Series champion, is proving her worth with a successful 2018. She has gotten some fantastic results since she hit the water for the Sydney Harbour Regatta earlier in the year, including a win in IRC Division 1 at Hamilton Island Race Week.

Celestial owned by Sam Haynes, newcomer Gweilo owned by Matt Donald and Chris Townsend, and Mick Martin’s Frantic from Newcastle are confirmed starters for this weekend’s race, while the TP52 that won the 2008 and 2012 Sydney Hobart will be sailed by Bob Steel as Quest. The earlier three will use the race to sharpen up crew work ahead of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. TP52s like Quest have been beefed up for offshore racing, diminishing their round the buoys capacity somewhat.

Principal Race Officer is Denis Thompson. One of the most highly qualified race managers in the sport, in October he was awarded with the President’s Award at the n Sailing Awards. Thompson’s team is comprised of MHYC and CYCA officials and volunteers.

The number of TP52s in the country has grown, and there is strong interest in this new TP52 circuit.

Peter Hickson’s M3 has been successful in WA with many a line honours and overall victory and the same can be said of Geoff Boettcher and his Secret Mens Business in South .

Matt Allen is the first n to have a TP52 purpose built. Offshore racing capabilities were at the forefront of Ichi Ban’s design and shortly after launching, she won the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart and is busy preparing for another tilt.

Jack O’Rourke is a contributor to Ocean Media PORT TRAFFIC: The skiffs ducking and weaving to gain competitive advantage at Stockton last weekend. Photo: Michael Chittenden Photography

HARBOUR BATTLELast weekend saw the opening heats of the NSW State Championships for three different sailing classes. Flying Ant, 13ft Skiff and 16ft Skiff sailors from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Gosford, Sydney and the Illawarra converged on the Port Hunter 16ft Sailing Skiff Club at Stockton.

The Flying Ants had boats from Illawarra and Lake Macquarie fighting for the top positions, while Manly boats dominated the 13ft and 16ft Skiffs, with Jake Barnabas’ The Kitchen Maker and Olympic Gold Medallist and multiple World Champion Nathan Wilmott and his crew on Manly Surf N Slide taking wins respectively. Top-flight sailing will return to Newcastle Harbour in January when Port Hunter hosts the MG14 n Championships.

HAINES ON A ROLLThe flagship 788SF from Haines Signature set a new benchmark in the fibreglass fishing boat market with its release last year. The formidable bluewater fishing machine is an impressive addition to the range.

The Haines Signature 788SF is the largest centre console the Queensland boatbuilder has ever produced. Powered by dual Suzuki DF200AP, the 788SF features an all-new hull with full composite construction, a 16-34-degree variable-deadrise running surface, and 500 Litres+ fuel capacity. Best of all, its 2.50m beam means this 26-footer is trailerable without a permit.

It has now been paired with Seakeeper’s computer-controlled gyroscope designed to virtually eliminate boat roll at all speeds.